Aviprint | Ki-84 Decals

Reviewed by Jay Laverty

This has been a void desperately in need of filling ever since the Hasegawa Ki-84 was released several months ago. I thought Aeromaster would have done a decal sheet by now or more likely their Eagle Strike range, but nothing. Then perhaps Cutting Edge, but again no. Perhaps even Yellowhammer, as they did some lovely decals for the George but still...nothing. I was beginning to despair. It seems as though the Frank was doomed to live in an after market black hole until Aviprint announced they were pushing the boat out and giving us some options other than the kit. I guess the whole problem for the after-market is the fact that Hasegawa have a tendency to release the kit in several guises using the same mould so the chance of producing an option that would be available in a future release of the kit are quite high. Another drawback is the fact that Japanese subjects are not the most popular and the problem from the decal manufacturers point of view is "will it sell at least 500?" Most probably thought no, assuming that the kit would not sell that well. From personal experience I can say they thought wrong. Hannants sold out of the kit in a couple of weeks and as the importer was out of them in England, as I write this we are still sold out. More are expected later in the month but that is little consolation for those who have been anxiously wanting to build the kit.

Back to the decals and we can now take a look at the choices Aviprint have given to us, and while I am pleased, I am not overjoyed. All of the aircraft are the Japanese equivalent of Olive Drab, although the 104th Sentai aircraft is possibly Nakajima Green, and therefore the sheet doesn't "jump out" at me when I pick it up.

I know from this site alone that a natural metal finish is most guys first alternate choice and leaving it off of this sheet is an error if you ask me. Plus, as I did mine in ti, the Violet Blue(ish) scheme would have been nice as well. The upside is that the 104th Sentai marking can be used on a Natural Metal aircraft if needed.

Aircraft Covered

A/C 1: 104th Sentai, Shinkyo Air base, Manchukuo, August 1945As indicated by the white chevron on the fuselage it is most likely that this aircraft was flown by the Sentai Hikotacho Captain Yoshitaka Kusano, who held the position from January 1945 until the wars end.

A/C 2: 182nd Shinbu-Tai, TateBayashi Air Base, Gunma Prefecture , August 1945Part of the special attack squadrons, this airframe was found at the end of the war at TateBayashi Air Base and while there is not a great deal of info available on this particular airframe it was probably flown by Takeshi Imoto.

A/C 3: 57th Shinbu-Tai Shimodate Air Base, Ibaragi Prefecture, 17th May 1945Another special attack squadron Frank, this particular aircraft was flown by Takayuki Yamashita and participated in the battle for Okinawa, where on the 25th of May it attacked American ships. The fuselage eagle makes this aircraft my personal favourite on this sheet and therefore a very strong candidate in the "what to build next" sweepstakes.

Impression and Recommendation

I would love to say I am enthralled with this release but unfortunately I cannot. I am definitely pleased with it and can say that it is very well researched and printed in perfect register. However I am a bit suspect of the red on the Hinomarus and feel they may be a tad on the bright red side, but I could be wrong. If you agree with me then I would suggest using the kit decals. If I were producing the sheet I would have left the Hinomarus off and included two more choices of aircraft.

The good thing is that the Sentai markings are very good and will be useful for more than just the aircraft provided on the decal sheet and with a bit of research on your own, could be very handy indeed.

The decals themselves look to be of good quality although I have not had the opportunity to test them.

I may not sound overly impressed with this decal sheet, but that would be a harsh judgement, as my opinion is effected by my closeness to the subject. This is a great decal sheet overall, and I can honestly recommend it and there is no denying it is a quality release.

Many thanks to Nigel Hannant for the review sample. He hardly had it out of the box it was shipped in before I spotted it and absconded with it.


© Jay Laverty 2005

Related Content

This review was published on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 18 2016